Tourism: learning from the Maldives, the key - Dr. Doering | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Tourism: learning from the Maldives, the key - Dr. Doering

25 April, 2021
Dr. Doering
Dr. Doering

The Maldives made headlines recently with an approach to ease entry for foreign tourists by offering Vaccination on Arrival (VoA) enabling visitors to travel freely and enjoy a hustle-free holiday.’

Such strategic moves should be an eye-opener for Sri Lanka which is struggling to attract visitors to a destination which has vast attractions, said tourism industry expert and social scientist Dr. Dietmar Doering.

He said the Maldives recorded over 250,000 tourist arrivals between January and March this year, local media citing data from the Ministry of Tourism reported last Monday, which in comparison outperforms Sri Lankan arrivals which has been around 10,000 so far this year. According to statistics, the Maldives received an average of 3,222 tourist arrivals per day, spending an average of eight days in the country. The top sources of tourist arrivals this year are India and Russia, representing 23.8 percent and 21.7 percent of all arrivals. Comparing with Sri Lanka and during the past three months, the Maldives generated in three days more tourist arrivals than Sri Lanka in the entire three months from January to March 2021. Sri Lanka’s tourist arrival statistics are devastating with year-to-year comparison and decreasing arrivals by over 90% (see the chart below). Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka are significantly lower, though both countries are more or less located in the same region, exposed to similar weather patterns, Dr. Doering said.

Sri Lanka received 9.629 foreign tourists during the same period. Sri Lanka’s stringent travel restrictions are one reason that foreigners hesitate to visit the country. It might be necessary to adopt new and more relaxing measures to enhance Sri Lanka’s attractiveness again without compromising safety standards.

VOA (Vaccination on arrival) with free travel thereafter could be the right step at the right time. The tourism Industry in Sri Lanka is heading towards a major disaster if steps are not taken to allow foreign tourists to visit the island under near to normal conditions. The Maldives is a good example like other neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam who  are outperforming Sri Lanka’s  arrival data by far.

As all these countries are keeping stringent standards to prevent the spread of Covid-19 avoiding set-backs for their own native populations., Sri Lanka too should follow this line and to prevent a total collapse of tourism at home, which is waiting around the corner.